Considering my health at the time, unproductive sales calls like this were just another source of unnecessary stress which was the last thing I needed. Still there was value in this woman coming to my farm because of what I had learned about Percy and other understandings that would be facilitated by this experience.
I knew this Arabian gelding was soft and responsive to the bridle but I had no idea just how soft until I saw that amazing stop in response to the slight roll of the snaffle. There are world class riders who would kill for such a stop and here I have it on my green gelding.
The horse learned that lightness in just a few sessions of schooling I had done to fix the one-sidedness created by Richard Galarza back before the lawsuit actually got started. He has not really been worked since then. Who knows when I would have discovered how well Percy had learned those lessons if not for this woman's visit. I am grateful for that and the new perspective it gave me both on this horse and my way with all of them, as well as some other pieces to the puzzle that is my life.
My perspective on Percy changed as his feet hit the dirt but her visit also gave me a reminder that I needed to be vigilant when people came to see horses. As much as I wanted to get my numbers down for the sake of my family, none of us wanted that to happen at the expense of the horses.
The amount of work done here, afterall, is because of our commitment to do right by these horses. Getting our numbers down without regard for their best interests would be in direct opposition to everything we stand for and while we all get tired from time to time, none of us would consider compromising our principles for the sake of relief from the task we took on when we began this breeding business. This woman's circumstances helped remind all of us of that resolve and renewed our unification in its pursuit.
It would take much longer for the other changes in my perspective to come. I was too sick to see the reality of the situation with the manipulative people who crossed my path during this vulnerable time. Not until I got far on the other side of my surgeries would I see things clearly and some of that would come in small stages along the way as I gained new information that helped clarify the confusion that plagued me at this time.
I will get to those stages as the story proceeds but for now I think it's appropriate to share what the writing of Percy's story has helped me to see besides the fact that Percy really is a star and he deserves a great home.
I know someday that will happen for him but for now he is staying where he is.... safe and well cared for. No way would I put him at risk by selling him to someone with a questionable history or anyone who doesn't appreciate how special he is. I am not going to allow Kelly Panowicz or Crystal Baker's agenda that I own too many horses to ever again compromise what I know in my heart is right for my herd. Afterall it is not the number of horses that I own that matters. It is their well being that counts although neither of those women seemed to care about that.....but then they were really more interested in justifying their inappropriate behavior. Truth was never important in their eyes.
How people like Kelly Panowicz, Crystal Baker, Angie Miller and Richard Galarza's of the world see me really does not matter. What is important is how my horses view me. That is the true measure of their care. The trust they bestow on me is the proof that I do right by them in all aspects they require.
If I didn't earn their trust they would not give it since horses are not like people. They do not blindly trust and then regret it later like I have done.
I have realized it would serve me better if I let the horses tell me how I am doing for them instead of listening to people who have not earned my trust. By doing that I will always be able to know their needs are being met. Happy horses are pretty obvious.
If I had been listening to my horses that day Kelly Panowicz was here, she never would have been able to trick me into giving up Doc nor would I have set myself up for the heartache caused by Crystal Baker and those who followed.
Granted using the horses themselves as a measure of one's horse husbandry skills means that a person cannot be barn blind. Only a honest assessment of a horse's physical and mental health will work.
If there is one thing I have learned in my time in the industry it is that many people are barn blind in one way or another and unfortunately the horses are always the ones to pay for that. It has always been my goal to not be barn blind in anyway because I could not bear being the cause of harm to any of my horses.
My fear that I would not be able to maintain that goal during my illness is the thing that set me up to be exploited but my fear was unfounded. Despite the chaos created by Panowicz, Baker and those that followed, the one constant has been my ability to step up and face head on anything thrown my way.
Over the years I have taken for granted the trust bestowed on me by my horses. Horses with this kind of trust deserve to be valued, respected and only placed with those who understand what a gift they truly are and I intend to honor them by seeing they only go to homes that will do just that.
It has been difficult to understand why such lessons are so important since I prefer to believe that people are basically trustworthy. However, if there is one thing I have learned during this past two years that I know I will never forget, it is that being vulnerable in this industry is like having a target on your back if you have anything of value to the bottom feeders of the world.
That says I really need to remember these lessons every bit as well as Percy retained his since my insecurities is what provided any jeopardy my horses may have faced during this time. In the meantime I intend to use Percy as my physical reminder until these concepts become second nature to me.
This story may not be over but I am fed up with being exploited. I intend to do whatever is humanly possible to see it does not happen again and to hold accountable those who have profited at my expense. Then and only then will I be able to assure my horses have their best chance of ending up with people who will value them as I have. That is afterall what every reputable breeder wants.
The story continues......